Lord Indra’s Battles

September 25, 2007 at 5:59 pm Leave a comment

Lord Indra Battling the Demons

Lila pastimes with the transcendental demons.

“Both the demigods and the demons are expert in activities involving the material energy, but the demigods are devotees of the Lord, whereas the demons are just the opposite. The demigods and demons churned the ocean of milk to get nectar from it, but the demons, not being devotees of the Lord, could derive no profit. After feeding nectar to the demigods, Lord Visnu returned to His abode on the back of Garuda, but the demons, being most aggrieved, again declared war against the demigods. Bali Maharaja, the son of Virocana, became the commander in chief of the demons.

In the beginning of the battle, the demigods prepared to defeat the demons. Indra, King of heaven, fought with Bali, and other demigods, like Vayu, Agni and Varuna, fought against other leaders of the demons. In this fight the demons were defeated, and to save themselves from death they began to manifest many illusions through material maneuvers, killing many soldiers on the side of the demigods. The demigods, finding no other recourse, surrendered again to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu, who then appeared and counteracted all the illusions presented by the jugglery of the demons. Heroes among the demons such as Kalanemi, Mali, Sumali and Malyavan fought the Supreme Personality of Godhead and were all killed by the Lord. The demigods were thus freed from all dangers.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 8:10 Summary

“Many hundreds and thousands of demons, demi-demons, Yaksas, Raksasas [man-eaters] and others, headed by Sumali and Mali, resisted the armies of King Indra, which even death personified cannot easily overcome. Among the demons were Namuci, Sambara, Anarva, Dvimurdha, Rsabha, Asura, Hayagriva, Sankusira, Vipracitti, Ayomukha, Puloma, Vrsaparva, Praheti, Heti and Utkala. Roaring tumultuously and fearlessly like lions, these invincible demons, all dressed in golden ornaments, gave pain to the demigods with weapons like clubs, bludgeons, arrows, barbed darts, mallets and lances.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 6:10:19

“Having been graced by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the demigods began fighting the demons again, with renewed energy. King Indra released his thunderbolt against Bali, and when Bali fell, his friend Jambhasura attacked Indra, who then cut off Jambhasura’s head with his thunderbolt. When Narada Muni learned that Jambhasura had been killed, he informed Jambhasura’s relatives Namuci, Bala and Paka, who then went to the battlefield and attacked the demigods. Indra, King of heaven, severed the heads of Bala and Paka and released the weapon known as kulisa, the thunderbolt, against Namuci’s shoulder. The thunderbolt, however, returned unsuccessful, and thus Indra became morose. At that time, an unseen voice came from the sky. The voice declared, “A dry or wet weapon cannot kill Namuci.” Hearing this voice, Indra began to think of how Namuci could be killed. He then thought of foam, which is neither moist nor dry. Using a weapon of foam, he was able to kill Namuci. Thus Indra and the other demigods killed many demons. Then, at the request of Lord Brahma, Narada went to the demigods and forbade them to kill the demons any longer. All the demigods then returned to their abodes. Following the instructions of Narada, whatever demons remained alive on the battlefield took Bali Maharaja to Asta Mountain. There, by the touch of Sukracarya’s hand, Bali Maharaja regained his senses and consciousness, and those demons whose heads and bodies had not been completely lost were brought back to life by the mystic power of Sukracarya.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 8:11 Summary


Battles of the Demons and Demigods

Indra Leads the Demigods in Battle Against the Demons

“The fighting between the demons and demigods is perpetual; it cannot be stopped unless intelligent persons from both sides take to Krsna consciousness.

O King, O descendant of Maharaja Pandu, the soldiers of both the demigods and demons were decorated by canopies, colorful flags, and umbrellas with handles made of valuable jewels and pearls. They were further decorated by fans made of peacock feathers and by other fans also. The soldiers, their upper and lower garments waving in the breeze, naturally looked very beautiful, and in the light of the glittering sunshine their shields, ornaments and sharp, clean weapons appeared dazzling. Thus the ranks of soldiers seemed like two oceans with bands of aquatics.

Surrounding Maharaja Bali on all sides were the commanders and captains of the demons, sitting on their respective chariots. Among them were the following demons: Namuci, Sambara, Bana, Vipracitti, Ayomukha, Dvimurdha, Kalanabha, Praheti, Heti, Ilvala, Sakuni, Bhutasantapa, Vajradamstra, Virocana, Hayagriva, Sankusira, Kapila, Meghadundubhi, Taraka, Cakradrk, Sumbha, Nisumbha, Jambha, Utkala, Arista, Aristanemi, Tripuradhipa, Maya, the sons of Puloma, the Kaleyas and Nivatakavaca. All of these demons had been deprived of their share of the nectar and had shared merely in the labor of churning the ocean. Now, they fought against the demigods, and to encourage their armies, they made a tumultuous sound like the roaring of lions and blew loudly on conchshells. Balabhit, Lord Indra, upon seeing this situation of his ferocious rivals, became extremely angry

Surrounding Lord Indra, King of heaven, were the demigods, seated on various types of vehicles and decorated with flags and weapons. Present among them were Vayu, Agni, Varuna and other rulers of various planets, along with their associates.

O Maharaja Pariksit, suppressor of enemies [Arindama], Lord Siva fought with Jambha, and Vibhavasu fought with Mahisasura. Ilvala, along with his brother Vatapi, fought the sons of Lord Brahma. Durmarsa fought with Cupid, the demon Utkala with the Matrka demigoddesses, Brhaspati with Sukracarya, and Sanaiscara [Saturn] with Narakasura. The Maruts fought Nivatakavaca, the Vasus fought the Kalakeya demons, the Visvedeva demigods fought the Pauloma demons, and the Rudras fought the Krodhavasa demons, who were victims of anger.

All of these demigods and demons assembled on the battlefield with a fighting spirit and attacked one another with great strength. All of them desiring victory, they fought in pairs, hitting one another severely with sharpened arrows, swords and lances.

In the course of the battle, the warfield became strewn with the severed heads of heroes, their eyes still staring and their teeth still pressed against their lips in anger. Helmets and earrings were scattered from these severed heads. Similarly, many arms, decorated with ornaments and clutching various weapons, were strewn here and there, as were many legs and thighs, which resembled the trunks of elephants.

O King, when the demigods could find no way to counteract the activities of the demons, they wholeheartedly meditated upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the creator of the universe, who then immediately appeared.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose eyes resemble the petals of a newly blossomed lotus, sat on the back of Garuda, spreading His lotus feet over Garuda’s shoulders. Dressed in yellow, decorated by the Kaustubha gem and the goddess of fortune, and wearing an invaluable helmet and earrings, the Supreme Lord, holding various weapons in His eight hands, became visible to the demigods.

As the dangers of a dream cease when the dreamer awakens, the illusions created by the jugglery of the demons were vanquished by the transcendental prowess of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as soon as He entered the battlefield. Indeed, simply by remembrance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one becomes free from all dangers.”

Excerpts from Srimad-Bhagavatam 8:10:6-55


Visvarupa and Vrtrasura

Indra Kills the Demon Vrtrasura

“Once upon a time, however, the King of heaven, Indra, understood that Visvarupa was secretly cheating the demigods by offering oblations on behalf of the demons. He became extremely afraid of being defeated by the demons, and in great anger at Visvarupa he cut Visvarupa’s three heads from his shoulders.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 6:9:4

“Because of affection for the demons, Visvarupa secretly supplied them the remnants of yajna. When Indra learned about this, he beheaded Visvarupa, but he later regretted killing Visvarupa because Visvarupa was a brahmana. Although competent to neutralize the sinful reactions for killing a brahmana, Indra did not do so. Instead he accepted the reactions. Later, he distributed these reactions among the land, water, trees and women in general. Since the land accepted one fourth of the sinful reactions, a portion of the land turned into desert. The trees were also given one fourth of the sinful reactions, and therefore they drip sap, which is prohibited for drinking. Because women accepted one fourth of the sinful reactions, they are untouchable during their menstrual period. Since water was also infested with sinful reactions, when bubbles appear in water it cannot be used for any purpose.

After Visvarupa was killed, his father, Tvasta, performed a sacrifice to kill King Indra. Unfortunately, if mantras are chanted irregularly, they yield an opposite result. This happened when Tvasta performed this yajna. While performing the sacrifice to kill Indra. Tvasta chanted a mantra to increase Indra’s enemies, but because he chanted the mantra wrong, the sacrifice produced an asura named Vrtrasura, of whom Indra was the enemy. When Vrtrasura was generated from the sacrifice, his fierce features made the whole world afraid, and his personal effulgence diminished even the power of the demigods. Finding no other means of protection, the demigods began to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the enjoyer of all the results of sacrifice, who is supreme throughout the entire universe. The demigods all worshiped Him because ultimately no one but Him can protect a living entity from fear and danger. Seeking shelter of a demigod instead of worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead is compared to trying to cross the ocean by grasping the tail of a dog. A dog can swim, but that does not mean that one can cross the ocean by grasping a dog’s tail.

Being pleased with the demigods, the Supreme Personality of Godhead advised them to approach Dadhici to beg him for the bones of his own body. Dadhici would comply with the request of the demigods, and with the help of his bones Vrtrasura could be killed.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 6:9 Summary

“Vrtrasura was very powerful in physical strength and influence. He placed his lower jaw on the ground and his upper jaw in the sky. His mouth became very deep, like the sky itself, and his tongue resembled a large serpent. With his fearful, deathlike teeth, he seemed to be trying to devour the entire universe. Thus assuming a gigantic body, the great demon Vrtrasura shook even the mountains and began crushing the surface of the earth with his legs, as if he were the Himalayas walking about. He came before Indra and swallowed him and Airavata, his carrier, just as a big python might swallow an elephant.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 6:12:27-29

“With his thunderbolt, King Indra, who was also extremely powerful, pierced through Vrtrasura’s abdomen and came out. Indra, the killer of the demon Bala, then immediately cut off Vrtrasura’s head, which was as high as the peak of a mountain.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 6:12:32

“When a demon is killed, certainly all the demigods are happy. In this case, however, when all the demigods were happy because of Vrtrasura’s having been killed, Indra was unhappy. Why? It may be suggested that Indra was unhappy because he knew that he had killed a great devotee and brahmana. Vrtrasura outwardly appeared to be a demon, but inwardly he was a great devotee and therefore a great brahmana.

Herein it is clearly indicated that a person who is not at all demoniac, such as Prahlada Maharaja and Bali Maharaja, may outwardly be a demon or be born in a family of demons. Therefore in terms of real culture one should not be considered a demigod or demon simply according to birth. In his dealings while fighting with Indra, Vrtrasura proved himself a great devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Furthermore, as soon as he finished fighting with Indra and was apparently killed, Vrtrasura was transferred to Vaikunthaloka to become an associate of Sankarsana. Indra knew this, and therefore he was morose at having killed such a demon, who was actually a Vaisnava or brahmana.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 6:13:3 Purport

“After killing Vrtrasura, Indra could not surpass the brahma-hatya, the sinful reactions for killing a brahmana. Formerly he had killed one brahmana, Visvarupa, out of circumstantial anger, but this time, following the advice of the sages, he killed another brahmana purposely. Therefore the sinful reaction was greater than before. Indra could not be relieved from the reaction simply by performing sacrifices for atonement. He had to undergo a severe series of sinful reactions, and when he was freed by such suffering, the brahmanas allowed him to perform the horse sacrifice. The planned execution of sinful deeds on the strength of chanting the holy name of the Lord or undergoing prayascitta, atonement, cannot give relief to anyone, even to Indra or Nahusa. Nahusa was officiating for Indra while Indra, absent from heaven, was going here and there to gain release from his sinful reactions.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam 6:13:10 Purport


Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Excerpted from texts and purports of HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.



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